Trump Pressed on Prospect of Assassination

Trump Pressed on Prospect of Assassination
Former President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump visits the Iowa Pork Producers Tent during the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Joseph Lord
8/23/2023
Updated:
8/24/2023
0:00

Former President Donald Trump fielded a question about the prospect of an attempt on his life from Tucker Carlson during an interview with the former cable news superstar.

In an Aug. 23 interview, which aired at the same time as the first GOP presidential debate, which President Trump skipped, Mr. Carlson noted that there had been escalating attacks on President Trump over the course of the past several years.

“It started with protests against you by the left, and then it moved to impeachment—twice—and now indictment,” Mr. Carlson said. “I mean, the next stage is violence. Are you worried they’re gonna try to kill you? Why wouldn’t they try and kill you?”

“They’re savage animals; they are people that are sick, really sick,” President Trump replied.

“You have great people in the Democrat Party, you have great people that are Democrats. Most of the people in our country are fantastic,” President Trump said. “I’m representing everybody, I’m not just Republicans or conservatives—I represent everybody, I’m the president of everybody.

“But I’ve seen what they do. I’ve seen the lengths they go to. When they make up the Russia, Russia, Russia, and that’s exposed, and they go down,” President Trump said, in a reference to the debunked claim that he colluded with Russia to secure his victory in 2016.

The so-called “Durham report,” which catalogued the findings of Special Counsel John Durham that dismissed the collusion narrative, “explained how corrupt it was,” President Trump said.

The report in question found that the FBI had opened its Crossfire Hurricane investigation into President Trump on flimsy grounds and became a larger probe than it should have, a result of “confirmation bias,” according to Mr. Durham.

President Trump also cited the conduct of officials during the 2020 election, which he said was “rigged” against him through manipulation of COVID-19 lockdown policies and through judges refusing to consider evidence of widespread election fraud.

Later, Mr. Carlson returned to the initial question, noting the “escalation” of efforts to bump President Trump out of politics.

“What’s next? They’re trying to put you in prison for life. That’s not working. Don’t they have to kill you now?” Mr. Carlson asked.

President Trump responded ambiguously, suggesting that such a move would be seen through by most Americans and wouldn’t be accepted.

“I think the people of our country don’t get enough credit for how smart they are,” President Trump said, noting that, contrary to expectations, his poll numbers have only gotten higher in the wake of four criminal indictments at both state and federal levels against him.

The concept of assassination attempts on anti-establishment figures like President Trump has increasingly entered the public consciousness recently, led in part by the public comments of Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Mr. Kennedy, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, has openly expressed his belief that his uncle was assassinated in Dallas in 1963 by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a view shared by Mr. Carlson.

Though Mr. Kennedy, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, is a potential rival to President Trump, the former president has expressed admiration for Mr. Kennedy.

It also comes in the wake of recent political unrest in the Western Hemisphere that culminated in the assassination of a candidate for the presidency in Ecuador.

However, in the United States, only a handful of presidents have been assassinated, and the level of security granted to current and former presidents makes the prospect almost unimaginable in the modern day.

Supporters of President Trump have long expressed concerns that his opposition to powerful forces and organizations could have dire consequences for the former president.

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